For many of you, where time is your master, you will see this practice as wasteful, counter-productive and career limiting. Can you imagine asking for a time code for MBWA!
It is easy to find yourself consumed by the work.
But there will come a time where you feel you have lost touch.
a) with yourself;
b) your work;
c) your clients;
d) your colleagues; and
e) with what makes you happy.
Staying close to the ‘action’ doesn’t happen by itself. You must will it.
Some people give up. Or, worse still, they are content to live in a bubble. They have reached the limit of their curiousness and decide that to try something else will upset their world.
MBWA should be a daily practice. You will learn far more by speaking to your clients and colleagues than reading any amount of survey information or the whispering of others.
All lawyers are told to get closer to their clients, but before you suddenly embark on some woolly programme of client excellence, start working out how you can add value to your clients’ enterprise. The favoured option is to spend time with them to understand the culture, mission and values. Only then will you be in position to fashion advice that makes the client think you truly understand their needs. With the market opening up you can’t afford to wait and see. Just get away from your desk more often. In many ways your desk is your biggest enemy.
Don’t underestimate the power of staying close. Look at Kodak. The brand name didn’t save them in the end.